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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

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internal dispersion the refrangibility of light had been changed. Startling as such a supposition might appear at first sight, the ease with which it accounted for the whole phenomenon was such as already to produce a strong probability of its truth. Accordingly the author determined to put this hypothesis to the test of experiment.
The experiments soon placed the fact of a change of refrangi-bility beyond all doubt. It would exceed the limits of an abstract like the present to describe the various experiments. It will be sufficient to mention some of the more remarkable results.
A pure spectrum from sunlight having been formed in air in the usual manner, a glass vessel containing a weak solution of sulphate of quinine was placed in it. The rays belonging to the greater part of the visible spectrum passed freely through, the fluid, just as if it had been water, being merely reflected here and there from motes. But from a point about half-way between the fixed lines Cr and H to far beyond the extreme violet the incident rays gave rise to light of a sky-blue colour, which emanated in all directions from the portion of the fluid which was under the influence of the incident rays. The anterior surface of the blue space coincided of course with the inner surface of the vessel in which the fluid was contained. The posterior surface marked the distance to whicli the incident rays were able to penetrate before they were absorbed. This distance was at first considerable, greater than the diameter of the vessel, but it decreased with great rapidity as the refrangibility of the incident rays increased, so that from a little beyond the extreme violet to the end the blue space was reduced to an excessively thin stratum adjacent to the surface by which the incident rays entered. It appears therefore that this fluid, which is so transparent with respect to nearly the whole of the visible rays, is of an inky blackness with respect to the invisible rays more refrangible than the extreme violet. The fixed lines belonging to the violet and the invisible region beyond were beautifully represented by dark planes interrupting the blue space. When the eye was properly placed, these planes were of course projected into lines. The author has made a sketch of these fixed lines, which accompanies the paper. They may be readily identified with the fixed lines represented in M. Becquerel's map of the fixed lines of the chemical spectrum. The last line seen in a solution of sulphate of quinine appears to